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January 28 , 2009

The Last Call: A Romance (Complete)


The sun was low behind a bank of leaden cloud which stood like a wall upon the western horizon. In front of a horse-shoe cove lay a placid bay, and to the westward, but invisible from the cove, the plains of the Atlantic. It was low water, and summer. The air of the cove was soft with exhalations from the weed-clad rocks stretching in green and brown furrows from the ridge of blue shingle in the cove to the violet levels of the sea. On the ridge of shingle lay a young man, whose eyes rested on the sea. He was of the middle height and figure. Twenty-seven or twenty-eight seemed to be his age. He had a neat, compact forehead, dark gray eyes, ruddy, full cheeks, a prominent nose, full lips, and a square chin. The face looked honest, good-humoured, manly. The moustaches were brown; the brown hair curled under the hat. The young man wore a gray tweed suit and a straw hat. He lay resting on his elbow. In the line of his sight far out in the bay a small dot moved almost imperceptibly. The lounger knew this dot was a boat: distance prevented his seeing it contained a man and a woman. Dominique Lavirotte, the man in the boat, was of the middle height and figure, twenty-four years of age, looking like a Greek, but French by descent and birth. The eyes and skin were dark, the beard and moustaches black. The men of Rathclare, a town ten miles off, declared he was the handsomest man they had ever seen, and yet felt their candour ill-requited when their sweethearts and wives concurred. With Dominique Lavirotte in the boat was Ellen Creagh. She was not a native of Rathclare, but of Glengowra, the small seaside and fishing town situate on Glengowra Bay, over which the boat was now lazily gliding in the cool blue light of the afternoon. Ellen Creagh was tall and slender, above the average height of women, and very fair. She had light golden-brown hair, bright lustrous blue eyes, and lips of delicate red. The upper lip was short. Even in repose her face always suggested a smile. One of the great charms of the head was the fluent ease with which it moved.
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